Pios total 405 yards of offense in NWC-opening win

Photo by Chris Barron
Photo by Chris Barron

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers outgained the Pacific Lutheran Lutes by nearly 250 yards in Saturday's 28-14 victory at Sparks Stadium.

The win is the Pios' first against Pacific Lutheran since 2011 and second since 1989. It is also Lewis & Clark's first victory against a Northwest Conference opponent other than Willamette since 2013.

Lewis & Clark (2-1, 1-0 NWC) overcame a 51-yard interception return for touchdown by PLU's Cody Barnett on the first play of the second half to score the final two touchdowns of the game. Dallas Garreaud had eight catches for 97 yards and a 10-yard TD reception to give the Pios back the lead in the late third quarter. Michael Abraham scored his second rushing touchdown of the game in the fourth for the first two-possession lead by either team.

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Key Moments

The Pioneers scored on their opening drive, one that almost ended in a different fashion when a fumble return for the Lutes was negated by a penalty. Instead, Lewis & Clark completed a 9-play, 67-yard series with Abraham's fourth rushing touchdown of the season and a 6-0 lead. Abraham entered the game as the NWC's leading rusher and tied for the most touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the defense held Pacific Lutheran (1-2, 0-1 NWC) to two three-and-outs in its first two series. Through three quarters, the Lutes had fewer than 90 total yards on offense.

"We had to wake up in the beginning, but once it started, the energy was unbelievable from the first quarter to the fourth quarter," senior defensive back Tawayne Malone said. "The group of guys we have, we believe in each other. We belong here."

Huero Lopez, who scored the Pioneers second TD and the first of his career on a 24-yard screen, returned the second-half kickoff to the Lewis & Clark 42 and gave the Pioneers one of their best starting points of the afternoon. On the next play, Caden Voges' pass was intercepted by Barnett and the Lutes took a 14-13 lead that held through three more Pioneers' series including two three-and-outs.

Then, the Pioneers rediscovered their offensive rhytmn and pieced together a 5-play, 55-yard scoring drive in just over two minutes that ended with Garreaud's first touchdown of the season. 

"We've had this thing - we gotta get it back and score quick," Garreau said, who scored on a 10-yard pass play. "We had a little hiccup, had to get back from it and we did.

"We stayed consistent throughout the whole thing and didn't let up."

Eventually, the Pioneers wore down the Pacific Lutheran defensive front, one of the best units in the NWC that helped the Lutes enter the game as the top scoring and total defense in the conference.

"PLU does a lot to create chaos with their front," head coach Jay Locey said. "We settled in pretty good, picked up some blocks and there was rhythm and timing. We wore them down a little bit."

Abraham finished with 85 rushing yards and two touchdowns, although he was below his conference-leading 5.4 yards per carry. He finished at 3.7 yards per rush.

Deeper Look 

  • Elijah McGee had the game's longest play, a 43-yard rush early in the fourth quarter that helped lead to the Pios final touchdown
  • Lewis & Clark started the game 6 of 7 on third downs and finished 7 of 15 (47 percent)
  • Meanwhile, the Pioneers defense limited Pacific Lutheran to 3 of 14 on third downs and stopped the Lutes' only fourth-down conversion try
  • Combined with their 477 yards of total offense two weeks ago against Whittier, Lewis & Clark had its first 400-plus offensive games since 2013
  • Malone finished with a team-high seven tackles and now has seven in both of his games this season
  • David Ceja's sack late in the second quarter, his second this season, forced a punt with the Lutes at the Lewis & Clark 39
  • Melvin Ho'omanawanui and Keola Palau both had their first sacks of the season
  • Without Randy Manewa, the Pios turned to Jonathan Newsome and Hayden Moses to punt with Moses kicking a 56 yarder
  • Alex Hensley and James Bullock tied for the second-most tackles by the Pioneers (5)
  • Lewis & Clark forced four fumbles and recovered two of them, one by Newsome on a punt and another by Berkeley Neuman
  • Chase Rhinelander and Hunter Briggs combined for 22 tackles with Briggs totaling two for loss
  • Xavier Tharpe, Kevin Johnson and McGee each had three receptions and averaged over 10 yards per catch
  • Voges finished 24 of 39 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions

Looking Ahead

The Pioneers face defending NWC champion Whitworth in Portland on Oct. 12.